Malachi Jones belts 202 not out as Rangers blitz Willow Cuts in Western Counties final
White Hill Field (Willow Cuts won toss): Southampton Rangers beat Willow Cuts by 280 runs
Records tumbled as Southampton Rangers thrashed holders Willow Cuts to regain the Western Counties trophy in a lopsided final at White Hill Field on Saturday.
Led by a record unbeaten double century from captain Malachi Jones, a hundred from player-coach Janeiro Tucker and a fifty from Charles Trott, the challengers piled up a record 416 for four after being sent in to bat.
Jones also featured in record partnerships with Tucker and Trott that put the 50-over contest far beyond Cuts’ reach.
Guest player Allan Douglas Jr then claimed five wickets with his off spin to seal the deal as Cuts were rolled over for 136 in 30 overs.
The holders made a promising start to their title defence, as Micah Simons and Kamal Bashir made early inroads with the new ball.
Simons, the left-arm seamer, made the initial breakthrough when Alex Dore (1) was pinned in front playing across the line on the back foot.
Bashir then had guest player Jordan DeSilva (3) grabbed at deep mid-off as Rangers slipped to 20 for two.
Cuts squandered a golden opportunity in the fifteenth over when Cuts captain James failed to grasp Tucker at extra cover off the bowling of seamer Antonio Darrell.
It proved to be a costly miss as the Rangers stalwart went on to add a record 205 for the third wicket with Jones in 28 overs.
Tucker swept Darrell down to the long leg boundary to reach his fifty in the 23rd over off 74 balls in 86 minutes and bring up the run-a-ball hundred partnership.
Jones reached the milestone four overs later off 52 balls in 87 minutes with a single down the ground off spinner Kevon Fubler.
By now Cuts had lost their cutting edge, which Tucker and Jones ruthlessly exploited with some aggressive hitting to all parts of the ground as the run-rate steadily soared.
Tucker brought up his hundred off 106 balls in 132 minutes in the 32nd over with a single off Bashir to carry Rangers to 219 for two.
Bashir’s persistence finally paid off in his second spell shortly after Tucker and Jones brought up the double-century partnership. Tucker was bowled hitting across the line after gathering 103 from 116 balls in 142 minutes with 13 fours and two sixes.
Jones reached his century five overs later off 85 balls in 138 minutes in dramatic fashion as he carted Cuts guest player Dean Stephens over the long-on boundary for six.
Cuts squandered another big opportunity when Jones was dropped at long-on off guest player Chris Douglas.
Once again it came back to haunt them, as Jones and Trott added a record 186 for the fourth wicket in 15 overs.
Jones smashed three successive sixes off Simons to reach 150 off 105 balls in style.
He then kept his foot firmly on the gas, belting Douglas over long-on for six to tie the previous highest individual score of 182 held by former Somerset Bridge batsman Curtis Jackson.
Jones then dispatched Darrell to the long-off boundary for four in the next over to claim the record outright.
Trott was put down in the covers off the bowling of Darrell, as Cuts’ woes in the field continued. He reached his fifty in the same over, off 31 balls in 50 minutes, after dispatching the same bowler to the cover-point boundary for four.
The all-rounder’s innings finally ended when he was stumped off the bowling of off spinner Joseph Basden. Trott scored 70 from 41 balls in 70 minutes, with six fours and five sixes.
Jones became the first to score a double hundred in the competition’s existing 50-overs format with a single in the covers off Bashir in the penultimate over of the innings.
Gladwin Edness, the former Cuts wicketkeeper-batsman, was the first to score a double hundred (206) in the competition's original open format, which was played as 60-over matches in the first and second rounds, with the final played over two days.
Jones eventually finished unbeaten on 202 from 127 balls in 213 minutes, with 15 sixes and ten fours.
Bashir led the Cuts bowling with two for 28.
Cuts were left a man short in their reply as Fubler left the ground before the start of their innings.
Douglas and James added 43 for the first wicket to give them a decent start.
Tayo Smith made the big breakthrough by claiming Douglas, the island’s form batsman going into the match, who had scored 110 in the previous round against PHC to go with his 128 for Somerset in Cup Match.
Cuts heads will have dropped at his departure for 19, and their fate was made clearer when Trott struck quickly to remove Bashir for one and big-hitting Dean Stephens for nine.
At 69 for three, with only James who could be considered a recognised batsman, it was all over bar the shouting.
Third change Allan Douglas Jr then took over to accelerate a slide in which Cuts’ remaining six wickets tumbled for 20 runs in six overs.
Douglas, who began the innings as wicketkeeper, opened his account after Basden (17) was caught at mid-on before dismissing Ryan Shephard (7) and Sergio Raynor (0) with successive ball.
He then bowled Simons for one and had last man Shaquille Bean, the Cuts wicketkeeper, caught behind by opposite number Jelani Albouy to clinch complete Rangers’ emphatic win.
Douglas claimed five for 35 from eight overs, while Trott took two for ten to cap a fine all-round display.
James carried his bat amid the madness, finishing on 45 from 88 balls in 131 minutes with two fours and a six.
The match continued the theme of this year’s competition, as all matches were won by the team batting first — each by huge margins, which casts some scrutiny on Cuts’ decision to field after winning the toss.
Warwick beat Somerset Bridge in the first round by 125 runs, PHC upset Warwick by 119 runs in the second round, and Cuts thumped PHC by 180 runs in the third round.
A Dore lbw b Simons 1
J Tucker b Bashir 103
J DeSilva c Shephard b Bashir 3
*M Jones not out 202
C Trott st Bean b Basden 70
A Douglas not out 3
Extras (b 2, lb 3, nb 5, w 24) 34
Total (4 wkts, 50 overs) 416
K Astwood, N Mills, T Smith, †J Albouy and G Simons did not bat.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-20, 3-225, 4-411
Bowling: Simons 9-0-80-1; Bashir 7-2-28-2; James 3-0-23-0; Stephens 7-0-54-0; Darrell 8-1-74-0; Fubler 5.5-0-61-0; Basden 5-0-36-1; Douglas 5.1-0-55-0.
C Douglas c Simons b Smith 19
*K James not out 45
K Bashir b Trott 2
D Stephens b Trott 9
J Basden b Douglas 17
R Shephard c Tucker b Douglas 7
S Raynor c Tucker b Douglas 0
A Darrell c and b DeSilva 4
M Simons b Douglas 1
†S Bean c J Albouy b Douglas 1
K Fubler absent
Extras (lb 10, nb 3, w 18) 31
Total (30 overs) 136
Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-51, 3-69, 4-116, 5-126, 6-126, 7-133, 8-134, 9-136.
Bowling: Mills 5-0-23-0; Smith 4-0-22-1; Jones 4-0-16-0; Trott 3-1-10-2; Douglas 8-0-35-5; DeSilva 6-1-20-1.
Umpires: E Carrington and A Knight.